How To Unplug During Vacation

I just got back from a week of vacation with my family, and for the first time in two years, it was a work-free vacation.

As a business owner, do you struggle with being able to fully unplug and take time off?

This is something I have struggled with over the past few years, but I have been on a mission to make it happen. When we aren’t able to get a break from work it can lead to resentment and burnout.  

It is difficult to bring your best to your clients if you’re feeling this way, so think of taking time off as a way to insure that you can be of service.

Here are the systems I use to unplug from work on the weekends and while on vacation.

1. Plan ahead

About a month before your next vacation, take note of what programs or events you have the week or two after your vacation. Then, schedule in time to complete any tasks that will need to be completed before you leave so you will be free and clear to unplug.

2. Block off vacation time on your calendar (plus buffer time before and after vacation)

When you book a vacation, immediately block off the days you’ll be away so you don’t accidentally schedule a client session or an important meeting. I also strongly recommend you block off the day before vacation and one or two days after vacation so that you can get caught up. Having that buffer time after vacation will give you peace of mind while you’re away.

3. Block off time in your online scheduling system.

I use and recommend Time Trade, which syncs to my Google calendar. When I block off vacation time in my Google calendar, it automatically prevents people from scheduling with me on those days. 

4. Turn off your work email

This is perhaps the most important of all the strategies because the constant influx of emails made it impossible for me to fully unplug. My work email filters into my Gmail account using pop3. Before I go on vacation I remove the pop3 connection. This means that the emails stop appearing in my Gmail account. I can still send and receive personal emails. Then, when I return from vacation, I turn on the pop3 connection and all my emails appear in my account. 

If you have a virtual or local assistant, you can have your emails forward to them so you have less to deal with when you return.

5. Set an “Out of Office” message

No matter what email service you use, you should have the ability to set up an automated message that is sent to anyone who emails you while you are away. In the automated email you will want to let people know that you do not have access to email and that you will get back to them when you return. Be sure to tell them what date you will be back.

For prospective clients who may email you, include a link to your online calendar so they can schedule an initial session with you.

I hope you are able to implement these steps the next time you go on vacation so you can experience the flexibility and freedom that can come with being a business owner.


Have questions or comments?
I know that it’s not easy to give yourself permission to turn off. Please share your thoughts and concerns below so I can support you in making this happen for yourself.

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